Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Two for Tuesday #11 – Death Takes a Holiday

with 2 comments

Here’s my entry for Andy’s Two for Tuesday Challenge this week.


Standard prompt:
white noise

You have lots of creative leeway. The limit is 200 words. The words can be used:

  • simply as a point of inspiration and do not have to be used directly
  • they can be included exactly as provided
  • or each word can be used independently of each other (for example if Death Row was the prompt instead of crafting a story about an inmate on the way to the gallows, you might write something like: Despite feeling like death from an excess of cheap vodka consumed the night before, Evelyn moved on to planting her next row of spinach).

Non-Standard Prompt:
This week for the alternative prompt, write a story about the Grim Reaper on vacation. As per usual with the Non-standard prompt there is no word limit (to allow for more in depth explorations) but there is a minimum of 200 words.



Death Takes a Holiday (573 words)

‘Lanzarote? Mallorca?’

‘Not really my type of people.’

‘Ibiza? We’ve got some cheap deals to Disney World?’

‘I’m not very keen on kids, of any age.’ Death looked across the desk at the struggling travel agent. He had to admit she was trying very hard to accommodate him. ‘I suppose I’m looking for something that would attract the more mature in life,’ he smiled and shrugged as sweetly as he could muster. ‘Not a coach tour mind,’ he added forcefully.

‘Well, our mature customer tends to go for a cruise. The Balkans?’

The intonation in her voice had suggested she didn’t think he’d go for it, yet here he was, only a week later, enjoying the sun west of Split. They would be stopping there for the night, sightseeing the day after, and heading on to Omis, Korcula and Dubrovnik.

He hadn’t thought a cruise would be his sort of thing. He’d worried that there wouldn’t be enough space, that he’d keep bumping into the same people. Instead, he had delighted in how pleasant it all was. The ship was the size of, and housed as many souls as, a small village. During the previous few days he’d met a bunch of people, most of whom he wouldn’t ordinarily see for another ten years or so. They were spritely and fun. The daylong tours drew out the fittest and offered an insight into Balkan culture, art and history. The food onboard was obscene of course, so much waste, and there were a few yahoos he could have done without, but other than that he was having a really good time.

He left the sun and retuned to his cabin. It was just as he’d left it. At last! The stewards had finally understood that he didn’t want his perfectly made bed re-made at their extortionate gratuity rates. He wondered when ‘favour’ and ‘service’ had turned in to compulsory filching, then ran a bowl of water to wash away the sea before dinner. The trickling water, loud over the low hum of the engines, reminded him of the previous night’s creaking. He supposed it must have been the mooring lines; there was nothing else to make such squeaking and groaning. It the white noise of the sleeping boat it had reminded him of the planks of a tall ship rubbing together, much more than the steel and chrome of a modern super-liner.

He knotted his bowtie, in preparation for eating at the Captain’s Table, and looked in the mirror. ‘I should have done this years ago,’ he said, folding his pocket-handkerchief just so.

He left his cabin and walked along the corridor, nodding to a woman who rushed by, hand clamped to her mouth.

Odd, he thought and wondered whether he should enquire as to her health. Instead, he continued on and three more ran past him, another women and two men.

On reaching the dining area he was a little perturbed by its lack of occupants.

‘Is there something un-missable in the theatre, this evening?’ he asked a waiter.

‘Pardon , sir? Oh no, sir. We’ve been hit by norovirus. Captain and crew won’t be dining with the passengers tonight, sir. Neither will many of the passengers come to that.’

The waiter wandered off, looking half-heartedly for something to do.

‘Ah,’ Death muttered, and took a seat at a table. ‘Maybe I’ll be directing some of those new acquaintances sooner than I’d thought.’



Written by Sarah Ann

June 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

2 Responses

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  1. A working holiday, I guess.


    June 10, 2013 at 8:57 pm

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